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Bölingen, Felix; Hermida Carrillo, Alejandro; Weller, Ingo (2023): Opening the doors for spillovers: a contingency view of the effects of work from home on the work–home interface. Frontiers in Psychology, 14: 1191657. ISSN 1664-1078

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Why do employees experience work from home (WFH) differently? We draw on boundary theory to explain how WFH influences employees’ work–home interface. WFH intensity increases negative spillovers (i.e., work-to-home conflict and home-to-work conflict) and positive spillovers (i.e., work-to-home enrichment and home-to-work enrichment) between the work and home domains. Negative spillovers can be mitigated through high-quality work equipment and beneficial spatial conditions at home. Domain centrality predicts who can benefit from increased WFH intensity. We test our theory with a sample of 545 employees, obtained through a two-step random sampling procedure in the city of Munich/Germany during the COVID-19 pandemic. We find that WFH intensity increases work-to-home conflict and home-to-work enrichment, affecting employees’ relationship satisfaction and job satisfaction. High-quality work equipment mitigates the detrimental effects of WFH. Employees with a high family centrality can reap benefits of more WFH because they experience more home-to-work enrichment. The simultaneous desirable and detrimental effects of WFH intensity can partly explain why studies have found heterogenous WFH experiences among employees.

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